* Asian shares kickstart week on positive note
* Gold specs raise net longs in week to April 9-CFTC (Adds comments, updates prices)
By Arijit Bose
Spot gold XAU= edged 0.2 percent lower to $1,288.08 perounce as of 0330 GMT, having touched $1,286.44, its lowest sinceApril 5, earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures GCv1 fell0.3 percent to $1,291 an ounce.
"Gold prices have fallen because of improving macro-economicdata which is favouring risk-taking," said Margaret Yang, amarket analyst with CMC Markets, Singapore.
Among positive catalysts in the market are a better-than-expected credit and export growth figures from China, a positivekick-off to the earnings season in the United States and hopesof a U.S.-China trade-spat resolution, Yang added.
Asian shares started the week on a firm footing while thesafe-haven yen hovered near its lowest level this year. MKTS/GLOBUSD/
Chinese customs data showed on Friday that exports for thecountry rose 14.2 percent from the previous year in March, thestrongest growth in five months.
Also helping risk-on sentiment, U.S. Treasury SecretarySteven Mnuchin said on Saturday a U.S.-China trade agreementwould go "way beyond" previous efforts to open China's marketsto U.S. companies and hoped that the two sides were "close tothe final round" of negotiations.
Gold, which is usually considered a hedge against economicand political uncertainty, suffers when risk-sentiment revives.
"The U.S. Federal Reserve hit the brakes hard in firstquarter but as data has improved rate cut chances are lower,"Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.
"If retail sales (due later this week) outperform it wouldstart building a case for an interest rate lift later this yeardespite the Fed's dovish turn in January."
Higher interest rates raises the opportunity cost of holdinggold.
However, officials in the joint communique of theInternational Monetary Fund's steering committee said globaleconomy was still not out of the woods with trade disputes andtighter financial conditions still remaining top threats to thepace of global growth.
Speculators increased their bullish wagers in COMEX gold inthe week to April 9, the U.S. Commodity Futures TradingCommission (CFTC) said on Friday. CFTC/
Among other precious metals, silver XAG= was unchanged at$14.95 an ounce.
Spot platinum XPT= eased about 0.1 percent to $885.45 perounce, while palladium XPD= lost 0.3 percent at $1,368.03 perounce. (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by ShreejaySinha) ((Arijit.Bose@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832,Outside U.S. +91 8067495254; Reuters Messaging:Arijit.Bose.firstname.lastname@example.org))
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